Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is going to bat for Sen. Janet Cruz as she faces a re-election battle for the newly drawn Senate District 14.
“I’ve known Janet Cruz for over twenty hears, so I know how much Tampa means to her,” Castor wrote in a fundraising pitch to voters. “Improving the lives of every Tampa resident is what drives her. It’s not about politics — it’s about people. It’s about making Tampa more affordable, making our neighborhoods and schools safe and free from crime, and making sure everyone has access to the opportunities they deserve.”
The email notes Cruz’s “tough election fight against an opponent whose views simply do not represent the people of our community.”
Cruz faces Republican challenger Jay Collins, a Green Beret veteran with the weight of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican campaign machine behind him.
As of early October, Cruz had raised more than Collins, but he had more cash-on-hand in the final stretch, nearly $360,000 compared to $86,000 in Cruz’s coffers.
The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee has dumped more than $130,000 into the race through in-kind contributions as the state GOP tries to oust Cruz.
The district is about as purple as it gets, with 122,585 registered Democrats and 116,224 GOP voters, according to the most recent L2 voter data. There are more than 105,000 no-party voters who will likely play a large role in who walks away victorious this year.
Cruz’s campaign acknowledges the challenge ahead as voters are already casting ballots.
“This election could be decided by just a handful of votes, so any help you can provide right now will make a real difference in this election and the lives of so many people,” the fundraising pitch reads.
It includes a video with Castor’s testimonial, showing a smiling Cruz with happy constituents, which links to a dedicated landing page to donate to Cruz’s campaign through ActBlue, the Democrats’ fundraising platform.
“If I can count on your support to protect this battleground Florida Senate seat, I will be able to continue working to address the challenges you are facing — but if I can’t on your support, we could lose to our ultra MAGA opponent who will use this seat to wage senseless culture war battles that only divide people and help no one,” the page includes in Cruz’s voice.
“We must help people struggling to afford rising costs, ensure no one has to worry about affording the care or medicine they need, protect our environment that makes Florida so special, and strengthen our schools to provide the high-quality education that our students deserve. But to continue delivering for you, I’m relying on your help.”
This isn’t the first time Cruz has faced a tight campaign. She defeated then-incumbent Republican Sen. Dana Young four years ago for what was then Senate District 18. The two were separated by just 400 votes and results required a recount.